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3.3 out of 5 stars47
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 May 2013
An understated and quietly effective ghost story set in the creepy, dark, and narrow lanes of the crumbling old city of Genoa where a grief and guilt stricken young girl encounters an apparition of the dead mother for whose death she blames herself. Though some have compared this film to "Don't Look Now", with Genoa standing in for Venice, there are also clear references to "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James. Like the latter story, whether the apparition is a subjective hallucination or is objectively real is somehow beside the point. The point is not questions as to the "reality" of the ghost but what it means to the protagonist and what the rite of passage represented by death and loss means to the living. Without giving away the plot I merely hint that the moral of this film, like "Don't Look Now", is that, however benign they seem, its best for ones health that the denizens on the "Other Side" should be left severely alone by those on this side...Just to add that I think that some of the uncomprehending reviews here seem to be from those who were unconsiously ticking the boxes of acceptable Holly-wooden wham-bam cinematic cliches and were just not paying attention...Though slow paced, this is, in fact, a tightly plotted film, with a resolute and chilling conclusion. Good acting, nice score and beautiful scenery also...Chill out, ye who are deficit of attention, and enjoy...
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on 3 November 2013
I have enjoyed watching this film it's very well done and Colin firth's portrayal of being a single father was so sincere and understanding and you can tell that it came across how we can see Colin that we don't see in real life it was well reaserced.
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on 3 October 2010
Colin Firth reminds us of his extensive talent here, perfectly depicting the dichotomy of a grieving widower who must keep going for the sake of his two daughters. He is ably supported by the two young leads, at different stages in their lives, displaying their confusion, grief and alienation (both physical, having moved to a strange country, and psychological, as they come to terms with their new reality as motherless children) in age-appropriate ways - and very convincingly. The added dimension of the guilt felt by the younger daughter is believable and tragic.

All in all, I am surprised by the number of negative reviews this film has received. I think Michael Winterbottom was seeking to depict a slice of everyday life, albeit very bitter-sweet and raw. Maybe there isn't a huge amount of action, but most people's lives tend to be that way, and action was obviously not the motivation behind this piece.

Personally, I thought it was excellent and would watch again.
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on 29 January 2013
I did like this film very much. It is not a big blockbuster with a happy ever after ending. It is a journey with a start but no ending.
Colin plays a widower looking after his children, after the sudden loss of his wife. He moves to Genova to start over. The film moves very slowly and gracefully along as the grief of these 3 people is played out. There is a feeling of continuity towards the end of the film, that life does goes on (even though the movie ends) as the family come to terms with their new life.
Genova the city is beautiful old city, with amazing scenery, winding streets, interesting people and has a history. Some of the camera angles (from high up or from a child's perspective) gave me the sense of how easy one could 'lose' themselves in a such a place. The grief that could easily destroy them, ends up bringing them together in the end. It is beautifully made.

.
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on 4 April 2010
I'm troubled that so many reviews here and elsewhere describe Genova as 'boring' or plotless. I'll admit it breaks off rather abruptly at the end, and I felt like another scene wouldn't have hurt. And I'd also say that the idea of calling it a 'supernatural chiller' (as the cover review quote does) is misleading, to the point of being damaging. I found the film, despite it's sombre subject, very uplifting. Perhaps this has something to do with my having left the UK for New Zealand, and finding myself missing Europe (especially France and Italy) more than I'd like. The filming of the city is gorgeous, and reminds me somewhat of 'Don't Look Now' (though obviously in a different season), but more importantly the performance of the three main characters was very impressive. Both the girls were very convincing in their roles - particularly impressive for the younger actress - and Colin Firth played his standard subdued role in a way that I thought worked very well. For me though, the actresses (Willa Holland and Perla Haney-Jardine) performances were the more impressive and substantial part of the film, and I look forward to seeing their other performances in the future.

As far as the lack of plot goes, perhaps my strong enjoyment of French cinema makes me more tolerant of a less staged, Hollywood-like storyline. It's simply more of a (mainland) European-style, moderate budget film, rather than a star-vehicle. I like the fact that not every scene is obviously linking from the last one into the next. I don't really see that a film needs to have a firm, step 1 to step 10, narrative to make it enjoyable. I was very happily immersed in the performances and the setting, and my only complaint is that the film wasn't longer. But perhaps this leaves us more opportunity to think through the next stages of the story ourselves, if we so choose.

Anyway, now to perk up the Amazon sales dept by buying the thing!
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on 27 February 2016
I do not like it as I have got similar experience bringing the family to strange new town and getting it destroyed by the experience of new environment crime street sex adulthood run by Hoodies ,derelict schools and absence of open culture in populace.
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on 2 August 2009
This movie is a great portrait for wonderful, misterious, city: Genova.The culturally rich Italian city is the backdrop for one of Colin Firth's finest roles as the desolate dad who struggles to console his younger daughter who was inadvertently responsible for his wife's demise, and her older sister, whose grief manifests itself in angry rebellion.

Michael Winterbottom's choice of Genoa is inspirational - the churches, beautiful buildings and glorious coast meshing perfectly with a tender script.

Firth is utterly believable in his role as a beleaguered single parent Joe, who is both grieving but attempting to start his life afresh.
I definitely suggest to see the movie and to visit Genova.
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on 25 April 2013
I bought this DVD as Colin Firth was in it and I expected it to be good. It was very slow, jumped from scene to scene without finishing conversations and was generally very uninspiring. The ending was sudden with no real conclusion. I had also been led to believe that there were some beautiful scenery shots which I was looking forward to but these didn't materialise.
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on 11 August 2010
I loved this film. It was moving, real and unflinchingly honest. It may be too sophisticated for viewers who prefer their films American style ie; cliched, predictable, and schmaltzy. My only complaint is that it is billed as a supernatural chiller whereas it is more a study of loss, love and makes me want to visit Genova.
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on 22 June 2010
While the movie covers aspects that are related to mourning (anger, denial,...), it shows a relationships that grows between the father and the youngest daughter (Mary), while he refuses to confront the eldest (Kelly). To some extent it is understandable because of the way the youngest is involved in the death of the mother and all the demons the child must face. However, it would have been helpful to have a last scene that shows how the relationship among the three of them (Mary, Kelly and Joe) evolves in spite of the absence of the mother once they face the crisis that occurs almost at the end of the movie. This is what happens in really life when a loved one dies: life goes one and there is like a lack of this continuity between the knot and the end of the movie. While the movie is slow, it goes with the pace of real life and has undoubtedly a more European approach.
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